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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Smoking ban 'wrong' say regulars
The Greyhound pub in Newport city centre
The Greyhound's customers were not happy with the new rules
There was something unusual about the lunchtime rush at the Greyhound Pub in Newport's city centre.

Around 20 locals exchanged banter as they would any other day. But for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, they did so in a smoke-free atmosphere.

There was one topic of conversation as they exchanged heated views between sips of bitter - the smoking ban.

And not one of them was happy about their new smoke-free local.

Even non-smoker Patricia Goudie, 55 - who went to the pub to see what effect the ban would have - was not impressed.

She said: "I'm a non smoker and I think it's all wrong.

I think it will be the older customers who struggle with it the most
Landlord John Pisani

"We live in a democratic country and if a smoker comes into a pub, I think they should be allowed to smoke."

Sean Doyle, 43, who sometimes has a cigarette with his pint, agreed.

"What it boils down to is that this new law is taking our civil liberty away from us," he added.

"I've been outside twice for a cigarette but I can't take my pint out with me, and it spoils the atmosphere having to get up to go outside for a smoke.

"Normally in here, everyone would be sitting at the bar smoking and drinking and having a catch up. You can really notice the difference."

David Pratt and Bernard Howells
Non-smokers David Pratt and Bernard Howells dislike the ban

Non-smokers David Pratt and his friend Bernard Howells said two of their friends had deliberately stayed away from the pub.

"They didn't bother coming because they were worried what would happen if they did light up," said Mr Pratt.

"How can they let people work in dusty environments yet not allow people to smoke in a pub?

"It's ridiculous. They should have asked the people in Wales what they thought of it in the form of a vote.

"It is wrong that people can't smoke in here, it's just wrong."

Landlord John Pisani spent £3,500 creating a smoking area in the pub's back yard.

He said the ban was rushed through, and claimed literature to pub owners was sent too late for many of his colleagues to prepare adequately.

Landlord John Pisani
Landlord John Pisani will not miss the smell of cigarettes

He added: "I know many pub owners didn't get anything through until February - what's the rush?

"I suppose it was just to beat England but I know a lot of people in the trade are going to suffer because of it.

"A lot of the regulars in here are old boys who are used to having a pint and a smoke and they are going to find the ban hard.

"It depends who you speak to - a lot of the younger customers don't mind and are happy for it.

"I think it will be the older customers who struggle with it the most.

"As for me, well I don't think it's going to make an awful lot of difference to me.

"However I will notice that my clothes don't smell of smoke and I won't have a film of nicotine on my bald head now," he laughed.


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